Gay actor Rupert Everett has caused an outcry with his comment that he "can't think of anything worse than being brought up by two gay dads".
Everett made the statement in an interview with Britain's Sunday Times Magazine, where he also pointed out the comment was "just my opinion", and suggested there were too many children on the planet anyway.
The 53-year-old actor, best known for his roles in Shakespeare in Love and My Best Friend's Wedding, is considered to have blazed a trail for gay actors when he came out as homosexual 20 years ago.
Since taking that step he has urged actors not to come out for fear of losing work.
In 2009, he said his admission had damaged his career and his work had been limited since the revelation.
Now the Sunday Times has quoted Everett saying his mother Sara had met his boyfriend but "still wishes I had a wife and kids".
"She thinks children need a father and a mother and I agree with her," he said.
"I can't think of anything worse than being brought up by two gay dads. Some people might not agree with that. Fine! That's just my opinion.
"I'm not speaking on behalf of the gay community. In fact, I don't feel like I'm part of any community.
"The only community I belong to is humanity and we've got too many children on the planet, so it's good not to have more."
The interview also included comments from Everett's mother who said she wished her son was not homosexual.
"In the past, I have said that I wish Rupert was straight and, I probably still feel that," she said.
"I'd like him to have a pretty wife. I'd like him to have children. He's so good with children. He'd make a wonderful father.
"But I also think a child needs a mummy and a daddy. I've told him that and he takes it very well. He doesn't get angry with me. He just smiles."
Ben Summerskill, chief executive of British campaign group Stonewall, countered Everett's comments, saying there was no evidence children of gay parents suffered in the way they were brought up or in how they developed.
In the US, the Family Equality Council responded by saying 30 years of scientific research showed overwhelmingly that children raised by parents who were LGBT (lesbian, gay, bisexual, transgender) did as well as children raised by homosexual parents.
Herndon Graddick, president of GLAAD (the Gay and Lesbian Alliance Against Defamation), said gay parents, their friends and families had voiced overwhelming disappointment at Everett's comments.
"Children aren't hurt when raised by caring gay parents, but they are when uninformed people in the public eye insult their families."
It is not the first time Everett has caused offence with his opinion.
The son of an army major, in 2008 he apologised after calling soldiers "wimps" in The Sunday Telegraph newspaper.
While publicising his film The Victorian Sex Explorer, in which he played Sir Richard Burton, he said: "In Burton's day they were itching to get into the fray. Now it is the opposite. They are always whining about the dangers of being killed. Oh my God, they are such wimps now!"
- © Fairfax NZ News